What’s something above your head that you rarely think about? Your roof!
Your roof provides defense against wind, rain, hail, and heat. It’s regularly exposed to weather hazards and other elements, all of which contribute to its damage and deterioration.
You might assume a roof needs attention only when it’s damaged or leaking. The reality is that proper maintenance may help prevent that damage. It’s as simple as doing some of your own roof upkeep and having regular professional maintenance.
So, how often should you have your roof inspected? That depends on several factors – the age of your roof, weather conditions, and any problems previously identified. But even if your roof is newer or hasn’t had any issues, it’s a good idea to have it inspected by a professional at least once every 2 years.
Committing to timely inspections and roof maintenance can:
- Increase lifespan
- Identify potential problems early
- Prevent existing problems from getting worse
- Saves money in the long-term
- Provide peace of mind
Below are the top 6 concerns a roof inspector will look for during professional roof maintenance.
1. Debris Removal
Pine needles, leaves, and twigs that get stuck on the roof aren’t as inconsequential as they seem to be. If not cleared, the accumulation of this debris will collect moisture and eventually start to decay. These areas can then become very prone to algae growth, water leaks, and even wood rot.
Additionally, the presence of leaves can make it difficult for rainwater to roll down the slope of the roof and into the gutter. Read this article to learn more about the consequences of a clogged gutter.
Shingles are your roof’s first and strongest line of defense against rainwater, sunlight, and other harsh elements. Without their protection, water can damage the interior layers of your roof and home. Here’s what your contractor will look for when he examines your shingles:
- Missing or damaged shingles (curling, blistering, cracked): The repair is simply to replace the shingles
- Granule loss: Some granule loss is normal due to wear and tear – excessive granule loss is a sign of a problem.
- Exposed or improperly driven nails: Exposed nails will corrode over time, and normal expansion and contraction will eventually expand the hole enough to allow water to work its way past through.
- Algae staining: The discoloration is an aesthetic issue. There isn’t any evidence that algae can damage asphalt shingles.
- Moss growth: While a thin layer isn’t too troublesome, large clubs can get underneath shingles, degrade them, and create opportunities for leaks.
3. Pipe Boots
Pipe boots wrap around plumbing vents to create a waterproof seal that prevents them from leaking. Over time, the rubber seal will crack, split, or pull away from the boot, which could cause a potential leak.
Through regular maintenance, your roofer can quickly catch this issue and save your home from water damage. If you think pipe boot failure may be the cause of your roof leak, read this article.
Roof flashing is thin pieces of metal installed to direct water away from the critical areas of the roof (valley, walls, dormers, chimneys, skylights). Here are some issues your roofer will look for:
- Missing caulk around flashing edge: The caulk around the edge of the flashing will degrade over time, causing it to crack or peel.
- Damaged flashing: The screws or nails attached to the flashing can become loose and raised.
- Missing flashing: If the original installer failed to install flashing, your roof could be at risk for a leak.
5. Skylight Leaks
A leaky skylight is pretty easy to spot: if you find yourself having to put a bucket underneath it, it’s leaking. As part of their maintenance inspection, your roofer will look for two issues that could cause your skylight to leak:
- Damaged or worn weather seals: Weather seals create an airtight, waterproof seal between your skylight and the wall that surrounds it. They age with exposure to sunlight and other harsh elements. This will eventually cause the seal to loosen, leaving room for water to infiltrate your skylight and start a leak.
- Damaged flashing: Metal flashing is installed around the area where the skylight meets your roof. If the flashing comes loose or degrades, water can slip in between the cracks.
6. Chimney Damage
Your roofer will check your chimney’s mortar joints and flashing. Mortar is basically just a mixture of water, sand, and cement, meaning it’ll break down over time.
If the mortar has crumbled away near the base of your chimney, there is basically nothing left to prevent a leak.
They’ll also check your chimney cap for cracks, rust, and signs of age. A damaged cap won’t be able to channel water away from the entrance to your chimney, meaning you’ll be at risk of a leaky chimney.
Ready to Start a Professional Maintenance Routine?
Now that we’ve gone over six issues your contractor will look for during their inspection, we hope you feel encouraged to start a regular maintenance routine. Through their years of experience, professional roofers have learned what issues they need to look for to prevent leaks, clogged gutters, and future roof damage.
The issues we listed in this article are best left to the experts. However, there are several roof maintenance tasks homeowners can and should complete themselves seasonally and after major weather events. To learn more about how you can maintain your roof, read this article.
If you’re in Raleigh and need a roof inspection, contact us today. We’ll look for signs of wear and damage that could impact the safety and performance of your roof. If we spot any areas of concern, we’ll explain our findings and help walk you through the next steps for repairs.